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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 22, 2013 12:00am-2:01am EST

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clear he was open to compromise. but those on the other side of the aisle have shown time and again that they refuse to allow up or down votes. nobody comes to this decision easily. .
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>> let's be realistic. what can they do more to slow down the country? what could they do more than they have artie done to stop the senate from legislating? we have all been in congress for a long time. three of us served in the house. senator murray has been in the senate for a long time, as have other senior members of the senate. we came here to get things done.
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all this happy talk coming from my republican friends -- harry, we know you are right. i say, why don't you vote -- why do you vote the way you do? they vote together on everything. it is only to discourage the president of the united states. >> [indiscernible] >> let him do it. as i said, the country did pretty well for 140 years. i think we are beyond seeing who can out talked the other. let him do whatever he wants. >> will it come back to bite you when you are in the minority?3 >> what i said on the floor,
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this is the way it has to be. the senate has changed. look at what has happened. if we have a republican president and we think he shouldn't have the team that he wants, one thing that people don't understand -- i want to try to explain this a little try to explain this a little bit -- a simple majority is not going to be a piece of cake in every instance. there is stuff on the calendar where there are a few democrats who don't like some of the who don't like some of the nominees that president obamanoa put forward. good. we work together. having served in the house where it is majority rule, it is a different body, a bicameral legislature -- a majority vote is not such a bad deal. >> you said had republicans made this move, it would have been a black chapter in history of the senate. senate. why is this different? >> back then, i gave speeches
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saying, we can't do this. we can't do this. it would be a bad day. it would have been a bad day. we helped make it a bad day. i was part of that deal. do you realize that with my consent we allowed janice rogers to go on that court -- court? things have changed dramatically since 2005. the last four and a half years, they have done everything they can to deny the fact that obama was elected and then reelected. as you know, during the last congress, republican leader mcconnell said his number one goal was to defeat obama. goal was to defeat obama. it didn't work. obama is president. he has been reelected.
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things change. i have said publicly, i don't know if there was a figure advocate on the floor for what just passed, but i will tell you something else -- i didn't always feel that way. i have a right to change the wa3 i feel about things. >> we much prefer the risk of up-and-down votes and majority rule than the risk of continued total obstruction. that is the bottom line, no matter who is in power. >> [indiscernible] >> here is what they should do. here is my suggestion. we have 30 hours. we wasted days and weeks and months. they should just yield that back. my caucus would agree, we will vote on it when we get back. let's vote cloture on the defense bill.3
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that would allow senator levin and in half to do -- go to conference with the house. their bill is not perfect. a lot of people want to offer amendments. we need a defense bill.3 that is what i have suggested to republicans. i don't know what they are goin3 to do. if there is really this angst from them about the defense of this country, what i think they should do is vote cloture, let them start a conference with the house. i have ignored somebody. >> given what you have said -- >> do you realize i knew you when you didn't have greater? -- gray hair? [laughter] >> isn't what you said about the filibuster -- why leave it in place for supreme court justices? >> i think that we felt, my caucus felt very strongly that
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the supreme court, we thought we were doing the right thing by were doing the right thing by saying, let's set the supreme court as separate. it is something we don't want to be jamming anybody onto. i think it is important. i think it is important. i would hope that nobody would ever use the fact that -- we tried years ago -- packing the court. the supreme court, we think tha3 is a separate part. let them filibuster. why in the world would we care? we were trying to protect everybody. if they want a civil majority, fine. all of these threats about, we are going to change the rules -- the rules more, as senator schumer said, what is the choice? continuing like we are, or have democracy. >> if isn't fixed by thanksgiving when you come
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back, are you going to put a bill on the floor? >> let's wait and see what happens. we are two weeks off.3 i'm going to visit with my five children together for the first time, 16 grandchildren, 44 people for thanksgiving dinner. >> are you cooking? >> i'm cooking nothing. [laughter] >> now we will get reaction from republican minority leader mitch mcconnell and lamarr alexander on the senate's move to change e the filibuster rules. >> good afternoon. this is not a very proud day in the history of the senate. in order to distract attention away from obamacare, the senate has just broken the rules in order to change the rules. we have had this threat for some
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time now at the beginning of each of the last two congresses. we have had discussions about rules changes. senator alexander was right in the middle of the middle of those and will give you an update on what happened back in january to refresh your memory, but after that, the majority leader said we had that the rules for this congress. obviously, that was a commitmen3 not kept. we thought he said, if you like the senate rules, you can keep them. in fact, we ended up having another discussion in july with another threat of the so-called nuclear option, and then you have seen what they have done today. talk about a manufactured crisis. we have confirmed 215 judges and defeated two. the problem with regard to the d c circuit is entirely related to the size of the court and the size of the docket.3
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we took exactly the same view senate democrats took during the bush administration, that there was no rationale for extending or increasing the membership of the d c the d c circuit, exactly the same rationale in the letter signed by senator schumer and kennedy saying, there is no need for additional judges. for additional judges. we have judicial emergencies and other parts of the country. this was nothing more than a power grab in order to try to advance the obama administration's regulatory agenda. they just broke the senate rules.3 all in order to exercise the power grab. i would sum it up by saying it is a sad day in the history of the senate. after today, advise and consent probably means to them 100% consent. senator alexander will give you3 the statistics on how common the rejection of nominees has been in the past, because i think it will be an eye-opener for you. >> thanks, mitch.
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in my view, this is the most important and most dangerous restructuring of senate restructuring of senate rules since the time jefferson wrote them at the beginning of our them at the beginning of our country. it is really not about the is re filibuster. it is another raw exercise of political power to permit the majority to do anything it wants, whenever it wants to do it. it is obamacare 2, in that sense. as senator levin said, repeating the words after world war ii, a united states senate without -- in which the majority can do anything it wants, anytime it wants is a senate without rules. it would be like the red sox falling behind in boston and st. louis cardinals, we are the home team, so we will add a few we ww innings until we can score some runs. this is a senate without rules. it is done based upon the
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flimsiest of excuses. the argument is, filibusters were used to deny seats to presidential nominees. in the history of the senate, the number of supreme the number of supreme court nominees who have been denied their seat by a filibuster is zero with a little asterisk for an lbj maneuver. the number of district judges deny their seat by filibuster is zero. the number of cabinet membersths deny their seat by filibuster is zero. that is congressional -- according to the congressional research service. the number of circuit judgesthes deny their deny their seat by filibuster is five democrats and five republicans all because democrats for the first time in 2003, the time i was coming to the senate, filibustered 10 of president bush's judges. president bush's judges. that was the first time in history. they also say it has taken too long for them to be there. long for them to be there. the senate historian has told me that president obama is being as well treated with cabinet
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members as were the last two presidents. you can pick the executive calendar up off every senator's desk, and it shows this -- it shows, of the people on the calendar to be brought up to be confirmed, 54 of them have been there for less than three weeks, and most of them, the rest, were less than nine. what could have the majority leader have done about that? he could have taken, without the majority -- changing the rules, he could have taken 10 cabinet members, put them on the floor on monday, at an intervening day on tuesday, and start voting wednesday morning as early as 1:00 a.m., give back four hours, and then have been done on friday. in other words, the majority leader could have asked the senate to meet on monday and friday if he could have confirmed anybody he wanted to. as to the d c circuit, where3 republicans have said is exactly what the democrats asked for in a letter sent in 2006 by all the democratic members of the senate
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judiciary committee, in which they said, under no circumstances should any judge be added to the d c circuit until we first consider the fact that it has less than half the average workload of the other circuits, and the republican president agreed with that. one of his nominees was notone t confirmed. they reduced it by one. all we ask for the d.c. circuit is that we consider the grassley bill, which has been in the senate for 10 years, to put judges where they are needed the most and taken from where they are needed the least. in summary, this is a power grab. it is obama 2. it is another partisan, political maneuver to permit the democratic majority to do whatever it wants to do. in this case, it is toin this ce the president's regulatory agenda. the only cure for it that i kno3
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is an election. >> senator mcconnell, what do you do? you still have culture debates. how will the publicans respond? >> i don't think this is a time to be talking about reprisals. i think it is a time to be sad about what has been done to the united states senate. united states senate. it is the greatest deliberative body in the world. it is the only legislative body that i'm aware of where a majority doesn't get to do anything it wants to at any point without consultation with the minority. i'm not interested in discussing a possible reprisal. i think it is not good for the senate. there is a lot of nervousness on the democratic side. they are in a panic about3 obamacare. the majority leader desperately try to change the subject. we want to get back on the subject. most americans, what they are thinking about right now is they are losing their health are losing their health insurance. their premiums are going up. jobs are being lost. we need to talk about what the
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american people are most concerned about.3 i'm going to take one more. >> you guys when the majority, and you are majority leader. will you abide by this ruling today, or will you try to move to reinstate prior reinstate pr? >> you guys know how much i love answering hypotheticals. obviously, i'm not going to answer that. i will say this -- the american people are deeply disturbed by this administration and this senate. as senator alexander ended his remarks i saying, the solution to this problem is an election -- the solution is at the ballot box. we look forward to having a great election in november 2014.
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3 >> i think this is a terrific vote for the u.s. senate. we have had a form of paralysis that has inflicted this institution. it has been great disturbance to the american people. we have had a process by which -- [no audio] the senate, unable to have up or down vote on executive branch nominees, it has undermined the success of other branches of government. it was never intended by the writers of our constitution,3 never laid out in our constitutional vision of co- equal branches. all of us believe the senate should play an incredibly important role and advise and consent. that is a response ability we have under this constitution. have under this constitution. advise and consent is not blocked and destroy. that is a significant difference. our tradition through several hundred years has been one of up-and-down votes, with rare
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exceptions. we tried to return to this in 2005. we had a conversation and agreed that the majority would not change the rules and the minority would allow up or down votes with rare exceptions, but when president obama became president, this understanding was broken by the minority.3 we tried to restore this in january of this year, in which the republican leader into the floor and said, we will return to the norms and traditions of the u.s. senate regarding nominations.3 that promise was broken in short order. tried again to return to these standards in july. outdoor down votes on executive branch nominees. this also was broken just a couple weeks ago. the vote that comes today is the necessary outcome of a series of broken promises, and it restores the understanding of the traditional understanding of advise and consent, and thereby,
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given the senate -- giving a thorough chance to vet nominees3 put forward by the president, but in the process, not allowing advise and consent to be blocked and destroy. >> republicans are making the argument that they think it will slow down the senate. slow down the senate. it will have a cooling or freezing affect, ripple effect that could extend to treaties. how do you respond tohow do you? >> we all have heard the stories of president washington saying the senate was a cooling body. never has -- was it intended to be a freezing body. a freezing . that is what it has become. when the promise of rare exception is destroyed in favor of routine obstruction, we have a deep freeze. we are already in that space. my hope is now we will be out of the deep freeze on nominations. we will be able to proceed with
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the normal traditions of the senate, up or down votes on executive branch nominees and judicial nominees. as to whether the minority chooses to continue obstruction in the legislation, it is yet to be seen. that is not what the american people want. people want. they want us to take on the big issues of the nation. they want us to be taking on living wages. living wages. they want us to be taking on full employment. they want us to be taking on the high cost of college. they want us to be helping and increasing manufacturing in the united dates of america by helping our companies be more efficient and effective. and ef. those are the things they want us to be doing, not sending us into a further slowdown on legislation.3 i hope republicans will listen to the american people who want this institution to function. >> senator mcconnell has said, not a single person has signed up in oregon. that? >> certainly, mitch mcconnell has made many arguments today.
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he talked about broken promises, and yet, it is a republican minority that broke the promise in 2005. it is mitch mcconnell's leadership in the public and party broke the very promising made on the floor of the senate in january. it is the republicans who broke the promise in july on up-and- down votes on executive nominees. i understand that he is in a tough position, having been unable to honor the promise with rare exceptions, and he would like us to talk about something else. he would like us not to recognize the damage being done to the executive branch, the damage being done to the nation. he talked about the workload of the district court, and yet everyone knows the workload is just as high today as it just as high today as it was when our republican colleagues insisted on up or down votes on president bush's nominees with these are distractions that the minority leader is trying to put forward. i understand why he is trying to do that.
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do that. let's focus on the reality -- the american people want this institution to function. institution to function. they want to see it take on the big issues. they don't want to see our entire calendar year need not -- eaten up by a paralyzing process on nominations. >> do you want this to go beyond nominations and into laws? >> i have advocated that we need to get rid of the filibuster on motions to proceed. we can't even get onto important legislation. we spent six months rent to start a budget conference committee and were unable to do so because of this. i have argued that we should have 41 votes to extend debate. of those 41, at least one should thereafter have to be on the floor making arguments so that we have, instead of silent paralysis, we have a talking filibuster. that is the tradition of the senate, that if you want to delay things, you would take the floor and make your case before the martin people.3
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that is a tradition we should restore. then the people can judge whether or not the folks were slowing down the senate are heroes or bombs. -- or bums. >> their argument is it will become more ideological. [indiscernible] >> the concern has simply been if you allow a president to get up-and-down votes and you do not allow the next president to allow the next president to have up-and-down votes, then you in fact have impacted the core integrity of the courts. that is what was happening with the blockade of senate -- of president obama's nominee. we insisted on it in 2005, saying this was the tradition and norm of the summit. we said the workload is sufficient to fill these vacancies. now it is a false argument. the workload is at is at least h as it was back then. if we have allowed this toif wed
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where president obama's nominees could not get your consideration, then indeed it would have been an ideological would have been an ideological court packing that would not be allowed to take pace, that would undermine the integrity of our courts. it would be wrong in every sense of the word. >> [indiscernible] is there anything republicans can do?3 >> i think the senate has spoken. [laughter] the senate has spoken. it has said, we have tried to restore through mutual understanding the norms and understanding the norms and traditions of the senate time and time again. each time -- each time, the minority has failed to uphold his position. the only alternative was tothe o establish this change. >> is this going to be harry reid's legacy as majority leader? >> i think the majority leader's
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leadership on this issue has been extraordinary. he has worked so hard to establish an understanding, to return to up-and-down votes with rare exception. the fight that battle in january and reached an agreement. an agreement requires both sides to uphold their positions. that didn't happen. he has taken us through a number of steps leading to the alternate conclusion that we had to change the application of the rules. >> when you hear grave warnings -- >> after the senate approved a rule change to eliminate the use of the filibuster on all presidential nominees except for the u.s. supreme court, president obama spoke briefly to reporters. >> one of the reasons why that is is over the past five years, we have seen an unprecedented pattern of obstruction in congress that has prevented too much of the american people's
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business from getting done.3 all too often we have seen a single senator or a handful of senators choose to abuse arcane procedural tactics to unilaterally block bipartisan compromises, or to prevent well- qualified patriotic americans from filling critical positions in public public service in ourm of government. at a time when millions of americans have desperately searched for work, repeated abuse of these tactics have blocked legislation that might create jobs.3 they have defeatedthey have deft might help women fighting for equal pay.3 they have prevented more progress than we would have liked for striving young immigrants trying to earn their citizenship. or ending tax breaks for companies shipping jobs overseas. they have even been used to block common sense and widely supported steps to protect more
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americans from gun violence. even as families of victims sat in the senate chamber and watched. they have prevented far too many americans from serving their3 country at at a time when our country needed their help the country needed their help the most.3 it has harmed our ha. it has been harmful to our democracy. it has brought us to the point where a simple majority vote no longer seems to be sufficient for anything. even routine business, through what is supposed to be the world's greatest delivered a body. i realize that neither party has been blameless for these tactics . they have developed over years. it seems as if they have continually escalated. today's pattern of obstruction, it just isn't normal. it is not what our founders envisioned. a deliberate and determined effort to obstruct everything, no matter what the merits, just
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to reflect the results of an election, is not normal, and for the sake of future generations, we can't let it become normal. so, i support the steps a majority of senators today took to change the way that washington is doing business. more specifically, the way the senate does business. what a majority of senators determined by senate rule is that they would restore the long-standing tradition of considering judicial and public service nominations on a more routine basis.3 here is why this is important. one of the president's constitutional responsibilities is to nominate americans to3 positions within the executive and judicial branches. and judicial branches. over the six decades before i took office, only 20 presidential presidential nominees to executive positions had to overcome filibusters. in just under five years since i took office, nearly 30 nominees have been treated this way.
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these are all public servants who protect our national security, look out for working families, keep our air and water clean. this year alone, for the first time in history, senate republicans filibustered a president's nominee for3 secretary of defense who used to be a former republican senator. they tried everything they could to hold up our epa minister.3 they blocked our nominee for our top housing regulator at a time when we need more help for more families to afford a home and prevent what has caused mortgage meltdowns from happening again. in each of these cases, it has not been because they oppose the person. that there was some assessment that they were unqualified, that there was some scandal that had been unearthed.3 it was simply because they oppose the policies that the american people voted for in the last election. this obstruction gets obstructie when it comes to the judiciary. the constitution charges the
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president with filling vacancie3 to the federal bench. every presidentevery president d this power since george washington, naming justices to the supreme court in 1789, but my judicial nominees have waited nearly two and a half times longer to receive yes or no votes on the senate floor than those of president bush. those of president bush. the ones who eventually do get a vote generally are confirmed with little or any dissent. this isn't obstruction on substance, on qualifications. it is just to gum up the works. this gridlock in congress causes gridlock and much of our criminal and civil justice3 systems. you have seen judges across the country, including a bush- appointed chief justice of the supreme court say, these are vital vacancies that need to be filled, and this gridlock has not served the cause of justice. in fact, it has undermined it.
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over the past three weeks, senate republicans again denied a yes or no vote on three highly qualified americans to fill three vacancies on the nation's second-highest court, even though they have the support of a majority of senators. four of president bush's six nominees to this court were confirmed. four out of five of my nominees to this court has been obstructed. the vote today, i think, is an indication that a majority of senators believe, as i believe,3 that enough is enough. the american people's business is far too important to keep falling prey day after day to washington politics. i am a former senator. so is my vice president. we both value any senates duty to advise and consent. it is important. we take that seriously. we take that seriously. but a few now refuse to treat the duty of advise and consent3 with respect that it deserves. it is no longer using a
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responsible way to govern. way . it is rather used as a reckless and relentless tool to grind al3 business to a halt. that is not what our founders intended. it is certainly not what our country needs right now. i just want to remind everybody, what is at stake right here is not our ability to fulfill my constitutional duty, but what is at stake is the ability of any president to fulfill his or her constitutional duty. a public service is not a game. it is a privilege. the consequences ofthe consequef action or inaction are very real. the american people deservethe e better than politicians run for election telling them how terrible government is and then devoting their time in elected office to trying to make government not work as often as possible. i want to be clear -- the senate has actually done some good, ac, bipartisan work this year. majorities have passed commonsense legislation to fix our broken immigration system,
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upgrade our courts -- ports. it has passed a farm bill that helps rural commuter -- communities. it would protect the vulnerable americans from being fired based on their sexual orientation great we know there are folks there that want to get things3 done. frankly, they have expressed to me the recognition that the system in the senate had broken down. what used to be a sporadic exercise of the filibuster had gotten completely out of hand. i believe, i'm confident that that spirit will have a little more space now. i want us to make sure we can do more work together to grow the economy and create economy and create jobs. if there are differences in thee senate, then debate should be had. people should vote their conscience. they should vote on behalf of their constituents. they should vote. that is what they are there to do.
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ultimately, if you've got a majority of folks who believe in something, then it should be able to pass. americans work hard. they do their jobs. they expect the same from everybody who got sent here. as long as i have the privilege of being in this office, i will keep working as hard as i know how to make sure the economy is growing and we are creating good jobs and we are widening prosperity and opportunity for everybody. i know that is what the majority of folks in the senate believe as well. the gears of government have to work. the step that the majority of senators to today, i think, will help make those gears work little bit better. thanks very much, everybody. josh will answer all your questions. >> does this mean political war? >> now senators, parking, chuck grassley, and carl levin weigh
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in on the filibuster in on the filibuster change. carl levin, democrat, voted with republicans against him will change. >> i want to take a few minutes first to congratulate our leader, senator reid, for leading the senate finally into the 21st century. that is the step we have taken today. thank you very much.thank you v. you are making sure the senate can now work and get our work done. i have waited 18 years for this moment. in 1995 when we were in the minority, i propose changing the rules of filibusters. i have been proposing it ever since. what has really happened is that this war has escalated. on both sides.
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i said at the time in 1995 that it was like an arms race, that if we didn't do something about it the senate would reach a point where we wouldn't be able to function. i thought perhaps at that time my words were a little apocalyptic, but as it turned3 out, they weren't at all. this is a bright day for the united states senate. and for our country, to finally to be able -- to finally be able to move ahead on nominations, so that any president, not just this president, but any president can put together his executive branch under our constitution. a president should have the people that he or she wants to form their executive branch. every senator here gets to pick his or her own staff.
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we don't have to have the house voted -- vote on it or anybody else. it is true of every member of the house or senate. it is true of the judiciary, the third branch of government. they can hire their clerks and staff without coming to us. now i think it is appropriate that any president can now form their executive branch with only 51 votes needed in the senate, not a super majority. that is a huge step in the right direction. now we can confirm judges of all the courts less than the supreme court, circuits and district court judges, again with 51 votes, without this super majority. it has been filibustering for so long. i listen to the republican
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leader -- listened to the republican leader during the3 run-up to these votes, and he said that we were somehow going to break the to break the rules. break the rules to make a new rule. well, we didn't break the rules. with the vote we just had, the senate broke no rules. the rules provide for a 51-vote, non-debatable motion to overturn the ruling of the chair. we have done it many times in the past. many times.3 we do not written rules. -- break the rules. we used the rules to make sure the senate could function in that we can get our nominees through. i like what the writer, gail collins, said in her column this morning in "the new york times" about these rules changes.
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she talked about how we are calling it the nuclear option. she probably called it that because changing the rules here is worse than nuclear war. it is not. it is time that we change these rules. the republican leader earlier said, it is the democrats who started this.3 it reminds me of a schoolyard fight between a couple of adolescents. the teacher is trying to break it up. he says, he hit me first. he stuck my toe. who cares who startedwho cares ? it is time to stop it. even if i accept the fact the democrats started it, maybe they can prove that we did -- it is possible way back when -- well, it has escalated. it turned from a punchier and a
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punch there to almost extreme fighting. it got to the point where we can't function, just on nominations alone. we have had 168 nominations since 1949. i picked that date because that is when all this filibuster stuff really started to read -- started. 82 of those have been under this president. president.3 it is not worth the to talk about who started this. fine. if they want to say that, fine, we started it. it has escalated and gone beyon3 all bounds. as i said in 1995, it has turned into an arms race. it is time to stop it. that is what we did this morning with this vote. he took a step in the right direction. in 2008, norman ornstein, a congressional scholar, wrote about the broken senate, our broken senate, how we couldn't function.
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you can go back even beyond that -- in 1985, my first year here, senator thomas eagleton, my neighbor to the south, said that the senate is now in a state of incipient anarchy. i think we had something like 20-30 filibusters in the congress before that. this has been escalating over a long time.3 it was time to stop it. that is what we did this morning. i say this is a big step in the right direction. now we need to take it another step further and change filibuster on legislation. we need to change it as it pertains to legislation. for example, we just had the spectacle of the bill that i reported out of our committee unanimously, republicans and democrats. it passed the floor of the house
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unanimously, comes to the summit, and one senator held it up for 10 up for 10 days. stopped everything for 10 days. guess what?3 it finally passed by unanimous consent. should one senator be able to stop things around here like that? it is time to move ahead. to get rid of the legislature, and at the same time, to protect the right of the minority to offer amendments that are relevant and jermaine, to debate them, and to have a vote on them, not that they should win it, but the minority should be able to offer, debate, and have a vote on relevant and jermaine amendments.3 i propose 18 years ago a formula that quite frankly was first proposed by senator dole many years of over -- many years before that.
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that was on a cloture vote to end a filibuster, the first time had to be 60 votes. then you could wait three days, file a petition with the relevant signatures, and then you would need 57 votes. you would need 57 votes. if you didn't have 57 votes, you could wait three more days, file in your petition on the same bill or amendment, and then it would require 54 votes. if you didn't have 54, you would wait three days, file a petition, and then you needed 51 votes. at some point, the senate could act. the majority could act on legislation. the minority would have the right to slow things down, as senator george gore said in 1897 -- he said to slow things down would be to give "sober second
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thought." not to stop it, not to block it. give second thought, and maybe things shouldn't be rushed into. i understand that. maybe things should be amended. the minority should have that right. not spurious amendments, but amendments that are relevant to the legislation. ultimately, 51 should decide in this senate on how we proceed, what we vote on, and the outcome of the vote. i hope that the vote today leads the senate to adopt such an approach in january of 2015 when the new senate comes in. there will be a new congress. i hope at that point the senate will then take the next step of cutting down on the blatant use of the filibuster on legislation.
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of the action taken here today, here is what i predict -- i predict the sky will not fall, the oceans will not dry up, a plague of locusts will not cover the earth, and the vast majority of americans will go on with their lives as before. i do predict that our government will work better. it president will be able to form an executive form an executive branch. our judiciary will function better. the u.s. senate will be able to move qualified nominees through the senate in a more responsible manner. mr. president, this is a good day for the senate, a good day for our nation. the senate now enters the 21sttt century. again, i congratulate leader reid for bringing the senate
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forward, a courageous action. i complement all my fellow senators who upheld that vote, so that from now on we only need 51 votes to close debate and move nominations and judges through the united states senate. i yield the floor. i yield the floor. >> the senator from michigan. >> i would ask unanimous consent that after the senator from iowa is record highs, and i believe e he will be, that i be recognized for up to 20 minutes. >> without objection. >> mr. president? >> the senator from iowa. >> we didn't have a chance to debate the change indebate the . i'm going to speak now on some things i think should have been said before, not that it would've changed the outcome, but because we ought to know what we are doing before we vote rather than afterwards.
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i will spend a few moments discussing what the majority leader called the so-called nuclear option. unfortunately, this wasn't a new threat. over the last several years, every time the majority leader r has tried to exercise his rights -- minority leader has tried to exercise his rights, the majority leader has threatened to change the rules.3 this is the third time in the last year or so that the majority leader has said that if he didn't get his way on nominations, he would change the rules. ironically, that is about as many judicial nominees as our side has stopped through a filibuster, three or so. prior to the recent attempt by the president to simultaneously at three judges to the d.c.
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circuit that aren't needed, republicans had stopped a grand total of two of president obama's judicial nominees. not 10 as the democrats had by president bush's fifth term in office, not 34 as one of my colleagues try to suggest earlier this week. no, to have been stopped. if you include the nominees for the d.c. circuit, we have stopped a grand total of five. again, not 10 as the democrats have done in 2005. not 34 is one of my colleagues try to argue earlier this week. five. during the same time, we have confirmed 209 lower court article three judges. that is a record of 209 judges approved 25 that were not approved. this threat isn't based on any
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crisis. there is no crisis. i would note that today's "wall street journal" editorial entitled "d.c. circuit breakers" -- the white house wants to pack a court whose judges are overworked. it lays out the place -- the case would pretty clearly. i ask that this editorial be made part of the record. >> without objection. >> this is about a naked power grab, nothing more than a power grab.3 this is about the other side not getting everything they want when they want it. the other side claims they were pushed to this point because our side object to the president's plan to fill the d.c. circuit with judges that that court doesn't need.3 what the other side tends to forget is history. i think history is something we
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ought to learn from. let's review how we got here. after the president simultaneously nominated three nominees for the d.c. circuit that aren't needed, a blatant political power grab in its own right, what did the republicans do? we did something quite simple. we said that we want to go by the rules that the democrats set in 2006. we said we would hold those democrats to the same standard they established in 2006 when they blocked a nominee of bush's by the name of peter crisler. let's be clear about why the democrats are outraged. democrats are outraged because republicans republicans actually have the temerity to hold the other political party to a standard that they established, and
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because we did, because we insisted that we are all playing by the same rules, they came right back and said, we will change the rules. the other side has said, in effect, we don't want to be held to the standards that we established in 2006, and not only that, but if you don't give us what we want, we are willing to forever change the senate. that is what happened today. now we hear a lot of ultimatums around here. this ultimatum is not run-of- the-mill. it is very different. it is different because this threat is designed to hold the united states senate hostage. it is different because it is designed to hold hostage all of the senate's history and traditions and precedents. it is different because to be
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effective, it relies on the goodwill of senators who don't want to see the senate as we know it destroyed. i would note that today's majority didn't always feel that way, the very way we have seen expressed today. not too many years ago, my colleagues on the other side described their fight to preserve the filibuster with great pride. for instance, in 2006, one of my colleagues on the other side said it this way -- "the nuclear option was the most important issue i worked on in my public life.3 its rejection was my proudest moment as i minority leader. e i emerged from the episode with a renewed appreciation for the majesty of senate rules. as majority leader, i intend to
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run the run the senate with respect for the rules and for the minority rights the rules protect." in two thousand five, another of my democratic colleagues had this to say -- "today, republicans are threatening to take away one of the few remaining checks on the power of the executive branch by their use of what has become known as the nuclear option. this assault on our traditions s of checks and balances and on the protection of minority rights in this senate and in our democracy should be abandoned. eliminated in the filibuster by nuclear option would destroy the constitution's design of the senate as an effective check on the executive." you have had two quotes from
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democrats in 2005-2006, very strongly supporting the president -- precedent or the senate using the filibuster to protect minority rights. then, they were in the minority. now they are in the majority. the tradition of the senate doesn't mean much. i have another quote from late senator burr in 2005 -- "id test this mention of a nuclear option. there is nothing constitutional about it. nothing." but of course, that was way back then, just six or seven years ago. today's majority was in the minority. there was a republican in the white house. today, the shoe is on the other
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foot.3 today, the other side is willing to forever change the senate foe because the republicans have the audacity to hold them, the majority party of today, to their own standard. why? why would the other side do this? there clearly isn't a crisis on the d.c. circuit. the judges themselves say if we confirm any more judges, there wouldn't be enough to go around. it is not as if all of these nominees are mainstream, consensus picks, despite with the other side would have you believe, that they are somewhat mainstream. take professor pillar, for instance. she has written this about motherhood -- "protected rights, including rights to contraception and abortion, play a central role in freeing women
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from historically routing conscription into maternity." now, is that mainstream? she has also argued this about motherhood -- "antiabortion laws and other restraints on reproductive freedom not only enforce women's incubation of unwanted pregnancies, but also prescribes a vision of a woman's role as mother and caretaker of children in a way that is at odds with equal protection." is that mainstream? what about her views on religious freedom? she argued that the supreme court's case which challenged the ministerial exception to employment discrimination represented a "substantial3 threat to american rule of law."
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get this -- after she says that, the supreme court rejected her view 9-0. the court held that "it is impermissible for the government to contradict a church's determination of who can act as ministers." do my colleagues really believe mainstream america thinks churches shouldn't be allowed to choose their own choose their own ministers?3 i could go on and on, but i hope you get the picture. the point is this -- voting to change the senate rules is voting to remove one of the last meaningful checks on the president, any president, and voting to put these views on this important court. i ask again -- why would the other side do this? isn't anything short -- it is
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nothing short of complete and total power grab. it is the type of thing we have seen again and again out of this administration and their senate allies. you can sum it up this way -- do whatever it takes. you can't get obamacare passed with republican votes? do whatever it takes. . .3 . takes. resort to things like the cornhusker kickback. you lose your 60th vote on obamacare, due to a special election, do whatever it takes, ram it through any way using reconciliation. the american people don't want to be taxed for not buying
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health care. do whatever it takes. tell the american people it isn't a tax and then you argue in the court that it is a tax. the american people want to keep their health care. do whatever it takes, promise them -- quote -- "if you like your health care, you can keep it" -- end of quote and then issue regulations making it impossible. your labor allies want out from under obamacare. do whatever it takes. consider issuing them, labor, a waiver from the reinsurance tax. you can't find consensus nominees for the national labor relations board. do whatever it takes. recess appoint them when the senate isn't even in session. you can't convince congress to adopt your gun control agenda. do whatever it takes, issue
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some executive orders. you can't convince moderate democrats to support cap-and-trade fee increases. well, do whatever it takes. do the same thing through e.p.a. regulation. frustrated that conservative groups' political speech is protected under the first amendment, do whatever it takes, use the i.r.s. to harass and intimidate those same conservative groups. frustrated when the court stands up for religious freedom and issues a check on obamacare contraception mandate. do whatever it takes. stack the d.c. circuit court in your favor. frustrated when the court curbs your power on recess appointments. do whatever it takes. stack the d.c. circuit with your
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favorite appointees, people that will rule in your favor. worried that e.p.a.'s regulation on cap-and-trade fee increases might get challenged in the court. do whatever it takes, stack the d.c. circuit in your favor. frustrated because senate republicans have the nerve to hold you to the same standards you established during the last administration. do whatever it takes. change the rules of the united states senate. that's what we have witnessed today. nothing but an absolute power grab. the majority in the senate and their allies in the administration are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve their partisan agenda. they know that there will be additional challenges to
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obamacare, they know that if they can stack the deck on the d.c. circuit, they can remove one of the last remaining checks on presidential power. but make no mistake. my friends on the other side will have to answer this question, why did you choose this moment to break the rules to change the rules? why now? why? when we're witnessing the collapse of this massive effort to centrally plan one-sixth of this wonderful nation's economy, why when millions of americans are losing their health care, why did you choose this moment over to the president, a president with less check on his authority. because the fact of the matter is this -- any vote to break the rules to change the rules is a vote to ensure obamacare
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remaining intact. so, mr. president, i'll conclude by saying this -- changing the rules of the senate in this way was a mistake. but if the last several years have taught us anything, it's that the majority won't stop making these demands. and if we can't give in -- if we can't give in to these constant threats, sooner or later you have to stand up and say, enough is enough. but if there's one thing that will always be true, it's thi this -- majorities are fickle, majorities are fleeting, here today, gone tomorrow. that's a lesson that sadly most of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle haven't learned for the simple reason that they've never really served a single day in the minority.
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so the majority has chosen to take us down this path. the silver lining is that there will come a day when roles are reversed. when that happens, our side will likely nominate and confirm lower court and supreme court nominees with 51 votes, regardless of whether the democrats actually buy into this fanciful notion that they can demolish the filibuster on lower court nominees and still preserve it for supreme court nominees. i yield the floor. mr. levin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: first i would ask unanimous consent that after my remarks, the senator from alabama be recognized. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. levin: mr. president, in the past, a few senate majorities, frustrated by their inability to get certain bills and nominations to a vote, have threatened to ignore the rules
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and to change them by fiat and to change rules to a majority vote change. rule 22 of the senate requires two-thirds of the senate to amend our rules. a new precedent has thousand been set, which is that a majority -- a new precedent has now been set, which is that a majority can now change the rules. because that step will change the rule into a legislative body that the majority, whenever it wishes, can change the rules, it has been dubbed the nuclear option. arguments about the nuclear option are not new. senator arthur vandenberg, confronting the same question in 1949, senator vandenberg, who was a giant of the senate, one of my predecessors from michigan, said that if the majority can change the rules at will -- quote -- "there are no rules except the transient
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unregulated wishes of a majority of whatever quorum is temporarily in control of the senate." now, senator vandenberg, when he took that position, was arguing against changing the rules by fiat, although he favored the rule change that was being considered. overruling the ruling of the chair, as we have now down, by a simple majority is not a one-time action. if a senate majority demonstrates it can make such a change once, there are no rules which binds a majority and all future majorities will feel free to exercise the same power, not just on judges and executive appointments but on legislation. we've avoided taking these steps in the past, these nuclear steps, but we've avoided them
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sometimes barely. i'm glad that we avoided the possible use of the nuclear option again earlier this year when our leaders agreed on a path allowing the senate to proceed to a vote on the president's nominees for several unfilled vacancies in his administration. but today we are once again moving down a destructive path. the issue, mr. president, is not whether to change the rules. i support changing the rules to allow a president to get a vote on nominees to executive and to most judicial positions. buwhat this is all about is ends and means. pursuing the nuclear option in this manner removes an important check on majority overreach. as senator vandenberg said, if a senate majority decides to pursue its aims unrestrained by the rules, we will have
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sacrificed a professed, vital principle for the sake of momentary convenience. republicans have filibustered three eminently qualified nominees to the circuit court of appeals for the district of columbia. they make no pretense of the argument that these nominees are unqualified. the mere nomination of qualified judges by this president, they say, qualifies as courtpacking. it is the latest attempt by republicans, having lost two presidential elections, to seek preventing the duly elected president from fulfilling his constitutional duties. the thin veneer of substance laid over this partisan obstruction is the claim that the d.c. circuit has too many judges. to be kind, this is a debatable proposition, one for which there is ample contrary evidence and surely one that falls far short of the need to provoke a constitutional battle.
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republicans know they cannot succeed in passing legislation to reduce the size of the court, so presented with a statutory and constitutional reality they do not like, they have decided to ignore that reality and decided that they can obstruct the president's nominees for no substantive reason. so let nobody mistake my meaning. the actions of the senate republicans in these matters have been irresponsible. these actions put short-term partisan interest ahead of the good of the nation and the future of this senate as a unique institutionment and it is deeply dispiriting to see so many republican colleagues who have in the past pledged to filibuster judicial nominees only in extraordinary circumstance engaged in such partisan gamesmanship. whatever their motivations, the repercussions of their actions
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are clear. they are contributing to the destruction of an important check against majority overreach and to the frustration of those willing to break the rules to change the rules. those of us who are unwilling to do that have now seen it occur before our eyes. the chair was overruled earlier today. so why do i not join my democratic colleagues in supporting the method by which they propose to change the rules. my opposition to the use of the nuclear option to change the rules of the senate is not a defense of the current abuse of the rules. my opposition to the nuclear option is not new and republicans threaten in 2005 -- threatened in 2005 to use the nuclear option in a dispute over
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judicial nominees. i strongly opposed the plans, just as senator kennedy did, senator biden did, senator byrd did and just about every senate democrat did. including democrats still in the senate today. back then, senator kennedy called the republican plan -- quote -- "a preemptive nuclear strike." he said, neither the constitution snore senate rules nor senate precedence nor american history provide any justification for selectively nullifying the use of the filibuster. equally important, he said, neither the constitution nor the rules nor the precedence nor history provide any permissible means for a bare majority of the senate to take that radical step without breaking or ignoring three kids of applicable rules and unquestioned precedence. and here's what then-senator biden said during that 2005
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fight -- quote -- "the nuclear option abandons america's sense of fair play. it's the one thing this country stands for: not tilting the playing field on the side of those who control and own the field." and he said, "i say to my friends on the republican side, you may own the field right now but you won't own it forever." and he concluded, "i pray to god when the democrats take back control we don't make the same kind of naked power grab that you are doing." my position today is consistent with the position that i took then that every senate democrat took then and that's just back in 2005 and that was to preserve the rights of the senate minority. i can't ignore that nor can i ignore the fact that democrats have used the filibuster on many occasions to advance or protect policies that we believe in.
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when republicans controlled the white house, the senate and the house of representatives from 2003-2006, it was a democratic minority in the senate that blocked a series of bills that would have severely restricted the reproductive rights of women. it was a democratic minority in the senate that beat back efforts to limit americans' rights to seek justice in our courts when they're harmed by corporate or medical wrongdoing. it was a democratic minority in the senate that stopped the nominations of some to the federal courts who we believed would not provide fair and unbiased judgment. without the protections afford afforded, the senate minority, total repeal of the estate tax would have passed the senate in 2006. and we don't have to go back to 2006 to find examples of senate democrats using the rules of the senate to stop passage of what many of us deemed bad legislation. just last year, these
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recollections prevented an adoption of an amendment that would have essentially prevented the e.p.a. from protecting waters under the clean water act. we stopped an amendment to allow loaded and concealed weapons on lands managed by the army corps of engineers as a minority with minority votes. as minority votes, we stopped some -- we stopped legislation that would av allowed some individuals who were deemed mentally incompetent access to firearms. that's just the last year. removing these minority protections risks that in the future important civil and political rights might just disappear because a majority agree that they should. and let us not kid ourselves. the fact that we changed the rules today just to apply to judges and executive nominations does not mean the same precedent won't be used tomorrow or the next year or the year after to provide for the end of a filibuster on legislation, on
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bills that are before us, and on amendments. just as i've implored my democratic colleagues to consider the implications of a nuclear option that would establish the precedent that a majority can change the rules at will is just as urgent for my republican colleagues to end the abuse of the rules which allow extended debate that were intended on rules that were intended to be invoked rarely. some of my democratic colleagues may rightfully ask, "if a democratic majority cannot initially muster a supermajority to end filibusters or change the rules, then what can the majority do?" the rules give us the path and that is to make the filibusters filibuster. let the majority leader bring nominations before the senate. let the senate majority force the filibusterers to come to the floor to force the filibuster. the current rules of the senate allow the presiding officer to
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put the pending question to a vote when no senator seeks recognition. let us, as the senate majority, dedicate a week or a weekend or even a night to force the filibusterers to filibuster. in 2010, in testimony before the rules committee on this subject, this is what senator byrd said. "does the difficulty reside in the construction of our rules or does it reside in the ease of circumventing them? a true filibuster is a fight, not a threat, not a bluff." and then he said, "now, unbelievably, just the whisper of opposition brings the world's greatest deliberative body to a grinding halt." and then he said, "forceful confrontation to a threat to filibuster is undoubtedly the antidote to the malady.
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we have not used that antidote to the malady which besets this body, allowing the mere threat of a filibuster to succeed without challenging that threat, without telling the filibusters, go ahead, filibuster. we've got rules that protect us. and when you pause and when there's no one else here, 3:00 on the fourth day or the fifth day or the sixth day, the chair can put the question. the am -- the american people will then see in a dramatic way the obstruction which has flanes in this body -- which has taken place in this body. but before a senate majority assumes a power that no senate majority before us has assumed to change the rules at the will of the majority, before we do
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something that cannot easily be undone -- and we have now done it -- before we discard the uniqueness of this great institution, let us use the current rules and precedents of the senate to end the abuse of the filibuster. surely we owe that much to this great and unique institution. there was a conversation, which was a formal conversation, between the majority and the republican leaders just last january, and here's what the majority leader said. "in addition to the standing order," which is what we had adopted, "i will enforce existing rules to make the senate operate more efficiently. after reasonable notice, i will insist," he said, "that any senator who objects to consent requests or threatens to filibuster come to the floor and
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exercise his or her rights himself or herself. this will apply to all objectionobjections and unanimot requests. senators should be required to come to the floor and participate in the legislative process, to voice objections, engage in debate, or offer amendments. and finally," he said, "we will also announce that when the majority leader or bill manager has reasonably alerted the body of the intention to do so, the senate is not in a quorum call and there's no order of the senate to the contrary, the presiding officer may ask if there's any further debate, and if no senator seeks recognition, the presiding officer may put the question to a vote." he said, our majority leader, that "this is consistent with the precedent of the senate and with ri riddick's senate procedure." what this showed again is that if we in the majority have the
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will power -- as much will power as has been shown by some obstructionists in this body -- if we have an equal amount of will as they have shown, that the current rules before this change today can be used to force filibuster filibusterers o filibuster, to come to the floored and talk. all we need to do is to use the rules, to take the weekend off, to take the week that we hope for a recess and use it to come back here, to take the recess itself, if necessary, during the summer -- for a month, if necessary -- to try to preserve what is so essential to this body, its uniqueness; which is that the majority cannot change the rules whenever it wants. the house of representatives can
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change the rules whenever it wants. it's called a rules committee. they can adopt and modify the rules at any time -- and they do. this body has not done that. we've resisted it. the we've attempted to do it. we've come close to doing it, but we've never done it -- until today. do i want to amend the rules? do i. i want to amend these rules with all my heart. i want to embody a principle that a president, regardless of party, should be able to get a vote on his or her nominees to executive positions and to district and circuit courts. i believe in that. i think most senators believe in that. we need to change the rules. but to change it in the way we
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changed it today means there are no rules except as the majority wants them. it is a very major shift in the very nature of this institution if the majority can do whatever it wants by changing the rules whenever it wants, with a method that has not been used before in this body to change the very rules of this body. we should have avoid add nuclear option. we should have avoided violating our precedents. we should have avoided changing and creating a precedent, which can be used in the same way on legislation. it may give comfort to some today, but this is only on judges, this is only on executive appointments. this precedent can equally available to a majority that wants to change the rules relevanrelative to the legislate
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process. madam president, those who have abused these rules -- mainly on the other side of the aisle -- whether they acknowledge it or not, are contributors to the loss of protections which we see today for the senate minority. given a tool of great power, requiring great responsibility, they have recklessly abused it. but now i am afraid that it won't just be them that will pay the price. in the short term, judges will be confirmed who should be confirmed.
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but when the precedent is set, the majority of this body can change the rules at will -- which is what the majority did today. if it can be changed on judges or on other nominees, this precedent is going to be used, i fear, to change the rules on consideration of legislation, and down the road -- we don't know how far down the road; we never know that in a democracy -- but, down the road, the hard-won protections and benefits for our people's health and welfare will be lost. i yield the floor. >> john boehner was asked about the filibuster in the senate.
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the house is adjourned for its thanksgiving break. >> hello, everyone. you have all heard me say that our job is to listen to the american people and to follow their priorities. republicans continue to do just that. this week the house passed three more energy bills. it would create more american .obs and more american energy i urge the president to sign those bills. onwill continue to focus strengthening the economy for middle-class families, energy outs -- better jobs. it is obvious the reality of the president's health care law does not match the promises the president made to the american people. from day we hear stories americans are getting letters
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about their health care plans being canceled or the costs of the new plans skyrocketing or they cannot keep their doctor. as a result, the american people are losing confidence in this administration. listen, i do not usually ever do this, but i think i will give the president a little advice. if you us to start building back the american people's trust, he needs to stop expanding the role of our government and do something. how about anything? create american private sector jobs. to many private sector job creators, especially small businesses, they are still sitting on their hands. he could support these energy bills. he could finally approved the keystone pipeline. it would create 20,000 direct jobs and indirect jobs. could rein in the
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regulations that are strangling our economy. or he could delay that health care law which has caused many employees to have doubts about expanding their number of employees. the solution is not more government. the solution lies in policies that this create a better environment for private sector job creation. finally, i was encouraged that the president said he would not stand in the way of a step-by- step immigration reform. that is approach the house republicans have taken. the american people are skeptical of big, comprehensive bills. frankly, they should be. the only way to make sure immigration reform works this time is to address these complicated issues one step at a time. it will give the american people confidence that we are dealing with these issues in a thoughtful way and in a deliberative way. i am hopeful we can make rugrats
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on this very important issue. after thanksgiving, [indiscernible] the house continues to do our oversight of the executive ranch as we are required to do under the constitution. we will continue to get answers to why people are losing their health insurance and why it is costing more. no decisions have been made. >> [indiscernible] >> hold on. radal hassman trey announced his absence after admitting to the use of cocaine. what did you tell him? but he still serve as a member of congress? i believeall know, that members of congress should be held to the highest ethical
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standards. i think at this point, mr. radal, the issue is between him and his family and his constituents. speaker, on immigration reform, what is expectation that the house will move some stuff on immigration? >> let me answer the first question. i havetion reform -- made clear in 2012 that it was time for congress to have a decision. i believe that congress needs to deal with this issue. our committees are continuing to do their work. private conversations are underway to try to figure out how we can best move on a commonsense step-by-step basis to address this really important issue.
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it is a very important issue. >> do you think he will be taking any kind of action? there is little tolerance for that kind of behavior. will there be any kind of punishment? >> that is between he, his family, and his constituents. >> is there some kind of deal that will emerge? donemportant is it to get by the december 13 deadline? do you see any chance we might move cr? >> i'm hopeful that chairman ryan and chairman murray can come to some agreement on the -- i'm hopeful. the house will be repaired to move a cr at the bac levels.
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>> [indiscernible] >> i'm opposed to discrimination in any case. the do not believe we need additional herbalists litigation in this area. >> [indiscernible] i know you do not like to comment on the senate, but there is a pretty historical debate over there. there's the so-called nuclear option. >> it sounds to me like harry reid is trying to change the subject. if i were taking all of the incoming fire that he has taken over obamacare, i would try to change a subject as well. >> [indiscernible] coming up on c-span, the fbi
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talks about cybersecurity it's coming from within the government. on peoplete hearing with disabilities. secretary of state john kerry testified. friday marks 50 years since the assassination of president john f. kennedy. our special coverage "washington journal" include your calls for irving today during starting at 7 a.m. -- including your calls starting at 7 a.m. eastern. we will take you live to dallas for a commemorative event at the plaza, including a historian reading from some of the president's speeches. and to boston from the jfk presidential library and museum for a musical tribute with james taylor.
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and the u.s. naval academy women's glee club performing selections. next, a report from the fbi on the disclosure of classified information by federal workers. kate randall discuss edward snowden case at a conference hosted by the government i.t. website.
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>> my name is kate randall. i am an analyst at the fbi. i provide analytical assistance to active fbi insider threat investigations. i also spearheaded our indicator development program. we tried to grab the extent of the problem by breaking down the critical components, conducting research, and applying advanced detection techniques against our data sets. anything that i am about to say is my personal and professional opinion based off of my first- hand experience working this issue within the bureau. it doesn't necessarily reflect what the fbi program is or isn't doing. it doesn't also reflected a policy or position of the doj or
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government. if you disagree with anything that i am about to say, don't hold back. if you're angry at the fbi for any number of reasons, please don't hold that against me. [laughter] my objectives with this presentation a threefold. i want to talk about the insider threat issue, what is and what it means, specifically highlighting how it is not a conditional cybersecurity or hacker problem. as i interacted with different entities with government and industry, academia and vendors, i have seen that there is a lot of inconsistencies about how to even define this issue. my hope for today is to provide more clarity about how to define this issue from the perspective of my own, someone who actually works these cases on a day-to- day basis. then i want to introduce a multidimensional approach, the concept of that, and the necessity of incorporating something like that within an insider threat program and
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hopefully provide a few high- level examples of how one might try to implement some of these concepts within their own organization. the insider threat problem -- everyone here has heard of edward snowden, recent nsa leaker. bradley manning and robert hanssen, and fbi special agent who spied for the russians for 20 years. not our finest moment. we are not too proud of that. these are certainly the most widely known insider three cases. but the issue itself is far much more expansive and runs far deeper than any one of the single incidents or these isolated case studies. if we are ever going to have any real chance of combating the student or threat problem, we can't build a defense mechanism against single case studies or specific actions.
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he can't just look at removable media activity because that is what bradley manning used. we can't look at justice system administrators or privileged users because it was noted had a technical background. we really have to try to attack the issue after the root of the problem and really understand what an insider threat means. so along those lines, the core feature of the insider threat is betrayal. these are individuals who betrayed their positions of trust and used their access for a legitimate means. the key factor is that it is purposeful. there is talk amongst the community about an accidental insider. there is certainly utility that tries to create defense mechanisms against accidental insider's, which we have dubbed the knucklehead problem, for individuals who accidentally mishandle information or unwittingly cause damage to the organization. that is a fundamentally different problem than someone
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who is purposefully and with malice and acting harm against your organization. so for the purposes of this presentation and how it should be defined for made should be looking for the specific intent of malice. though the insider threat issue has garnered a lot more support and a lot more noteworthy news in recent years because of some of the high-profile cases, it is one of the least voluminous problems but has some of the highest impacts. insider threat cannot only compromise sensitive government information that can have long- standing effects for our government, our economy, our international operations. it can also cause damage to the government and industry in the numbers of billions of dollars which i don't think has that money to spare. the key factor is that we cannot focus on specific, isolated
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situations. it is not about someone who is a spy or someone who prince a lot of data or injects malware into its system. it has numerous types of manifestations, both in terms of the actual malicious behavior and then in the a that that behaviors enacted. the insider threat problem, as you can see, can span from i.t. sabotage to fraud to workplace violence to unauthorized disclosure. the manifestations of that is hundreds of thousands of different ways that a person can do that. if we solely focus on how a person is doing it without taking it back to the root of the problem, we really won't get anywhere. it is why i think it is so important to really focus on the heart of the issue. in terms of how it happens, most people don't come into organizations with the intent to become a malicious act or. there are certainly people who can.
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hopefully, those individuals can be mitigated at the forefront from secure hiring protocol to background investigations. but most malicious insiders start out just like everyone else. they evolve into luscious actors over time as a result of opportunities, triggered risk factors, and peak motivation. these red flags are what we call indicators. and all employees in every organization have some of these red flag indicators and they exist at varying levels across the continuum. it is about identifying what indicators, to what degree might cause someone to get to the tipping point. basically, what makes them go over to the dark side. that is what makes it a challenging problem because these risk factors exist all the time, always for everyone. what is it that makes it for one person kind of push them over the edge? the biggest thing that i want to stress today, again, is this is not atypical cybersecurity problem. insider threat by pure definition goes against all traditional means of cybersecurity, information
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assurance and data protection. where we protect our systems, our network center information from intruders and unauthorized activity. these are people who are within your realization and have legitimate access to do the things they are doing good you are not locking your doors are setting up an alarm system to prevent a burglar from coming into your house. you are opening the door. you're shaking the guys hand. you're inviting him in for a beer. they were giving him a key to your house while you go on vacation. the fundamental difference between an insider threat and a hacker is that we trust our threats. we trust them with proprietary information that are realization holds and we trust that they won't betray that.
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there are certainly insider threats that do have significant technical backgrounds that use this technical background to penetrate and info straight the us -- and infiltrate the system and do harm to the system. but that is only one component. there is an whole other sphere of how these behaviors are manifested. when i first got into this business, the most accurate yet depressing thing that someone had told me about how to describe the insider threat problem is that we are not looking for a needle in a haystack. you're looking for a needle in a stack of needles. i don't know how many people frequently put their hands in a pile of needles, but it seems pretty tame for land pretty difficult. that highlights exec with what the problem is to the insider threat. these are people who look exactly like the person next to them. it is not necessarily about try to figure out what is wrong or what is different.
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it is about identifying what some of these indicators or red flags along the spectrum are, trying to mitigate the expectation of them so that a person doesn't reach that tipping point, and then incorporating, monitoring or detection mechanisms so you can see some of these behaviors. it is clearly, as i said, a multidimensional problem so it requires a multidimensional solution. the goal is to detect, deter and disrupt. you can take a twofold approach on how you can bet these objectives. the first is how you identify the problem. not only are insider threats themselves multidimensional, that the problem itself spans numerous different subject matters and incorporates numerous key players. it is not just the security or counterintelligence and one implements the critical components from each of the stakeholders and attacks the problem from all of these perspectives to really get an understanding of what this
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problem is. second, you can focus your efforts by looking at your people, your data and your threat. knowing your people is the most critical aspect to any successful inside of her program. and when we say no your people, it means really know your people. not talking about your i.t. or their e-mail address, the user name or their work schedule. it is really about understanding who they are, what they do, who they interact with and what potential vulnerabilities they might have that sit along that spectrum so that you can try to proactively prevent them from reaching the tipping point. in taking this approach, we have come to adopt this three-fold model on how you look at the whole person. it is a commendation of hyper,
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construction and -- hyper, contextual, and psychosocial. construction -- contextual is who you are, your job role, your foreign axis. and cyber social being who you react to the different factors and stressors in your environment. you're coping mechanisms as they pertain to stress and your interactions with people in the workplace, getting a deeper understanding of who a person actually is. for cyber indicators, again, what people do on the system. this is helpful because it allows you to actually detect activity of interest or of concern. in order to do this, obviously, the first step is to collect the information. for people who do not have robust insider threat programs, you can set up whole space auditing capabilities, collect audit logs from your critical
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applications, really garner a way to get an understanding of what people are doing on the system. from there, implement some alerting mechanisms make as it is not just about having the information. it is about identifying what is important. figuring out what activity might be of concern to you. if what is most concerning is the annual budget report getting late to the media, set up they -- set up an alerting mechanisms that indicates every time somebody looks at that document or links that document or e-mails that document. if you are concerned about the budget report leaked to the media and 10,000 people have access and on one day 9000 people print the budget report, from personal experience, this is a tough problem to deal with. you really need to incorporate some types of behavioral detection techniques. there is a huge fan of different ways that you can add intelligence to those alerting mechanisms to looking at not only anomalies against the
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enterprisewide solution but against yourself, against smaller groups. looking to see what would be different or what might be abnormal for a person. combining things together. so if 9000 people print the budget document, maybe you want to see who printed it and also e-mailed it or who accessed it within a certain timeframe. just put in more context to the things you're looking for is where you really get to the meat of the issue. contextual, again, is who a person is hearing this is so important because it allows you to understand what your workforces and, more
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importantly, what your threats are. i know a lot of people do like to think of it in this way because we want to trust the people next to us. but there are threats and when you are in a position of if you're looking for individuals who might have problems with the financial history or finances because if they were approached by a foreign intelligence service or a competitor among that could be a catalyst enough to enable them to reach the tipping point. likewise for foreign nexus issues. if someone has ties to a foreign country, it is not that we care that they are foreign. is that they might have an allegiance to a country other than the united states wage
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could potentially enable them to pass over that tipping point. so it is about identifying some of these factors and really thinking about the reason why we are interested in them in terms of how we protect our data. and how to go about that. with the interagency, there will be different ways you can tailor it, what is best for you, where you get this information from. some of the key ways to collect this information are doing background or investigative processes, doing interviews, normal security checks, self reporting mechanisms. a sickly anything that you can youasically anything that can do within the limitations of your own organization that prove important in the psychosocial component is the most underdeveloped of the three spears and i think it holds the most significant.
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we recently completed a study where we were trying to identify which social said -- which psychosocial indicators are indicative of malicious behaviors. it really kind of shows that some of these more innate characteristics might be the most diagnostic, even across all three spheres. one of the indicators pretty reverent in the community is workplace disgruntlement in people who are angry do bad things i don't know if it is just the fbi, but there are a lot of disgruntled people in the workforce, and the government. so what are you really try to look for? the problem behind that is that somebody might be upset enough at the workplace that they would enact some harm. the true indicator behind that is the psychosocial indicator
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that is between -- beneath the surface. you are looking for someone who has a retaliatory characteristic that will be exploited as a result of an external circumstance. but the concept is, to people working in the same office and have the exact same level of workplace disgruntlement that only one reaches that tipping point and becomes an insider threat and it is really getting at what is beneath the surface level indicator. it is more difficult to do that than trying to determine characteristic features of employees. that is why the sphere is really in development and something within the community that i think everybody sees the utility in collecting this information and figuring a way to use this information. again, it will prove the most valuable. but it is figuring out the best way to do it with limitations, the feasible limitations, the legal and the sensitivity limitations within the environment. i think one of the best ways to do that as a starting point is to increase the training and awareness within your organization. get people to understand what the true risk factors are and try to create a reporting mechanism, a focused reporting mechanism so they have the ability to report these concerns
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should they see them. increase the training and awareness as a starting point. get them to understand what the true risk doctors are and enable anchor aid some kind of a enable some and kind of mechanism. that would give us the opportunity to really understand some of these things and figure out what these psychosocial indicators are. in addition to knowing your people from a hyper, contextual and psychosocial sphere, by knowing your enemy, you are identifying your potential vulnerabilities which puts you in a more effective position to defend against them. who is your enemy?
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is it a competitor, a foreign intelligence service? what type of information would they be targeting? who would they be targeting? how would the recruiter target these individuals? who by name are these high-value individuals in this organization? approach it from that perspective and maybe put more stringent security protocols on the people you think the enemy would be more attracted to. and also knowing your data. what are the crown jewels of your organization? what is the most sensitive information that, if compromised, could be overwhelmingly damaging? in an ideal world, we want to protect all of our information. we are all struggling with limited resources at this time so it is really about starting by figuring out what is the most important information that i have. where's that stored? who has access to it?
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breaking it down to that level is one of the best ways to start to protect information that is the most valuable within your organization. in implementing this multidimensional approach, the key factor is really abrogating different data sources and taking that information and funneling it into a central depository. robert hanssen is obviously the poster boy insider threat for the fbi. he certainly had numerous red flags and indicators and risk factors along that 20-year spectrum that multiple people saw. another saw his history of security violations. another knew about how sensitive his position was and what access to sensitive information he had. the problem is there is no one person that's all of those things. and when you take this approach with those red flags and indicators, the red flags in isolation really don't mean
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much. it is the combination of those red flags. that is why he went unnoticed for so long. no one person could conceal all that information in one place and make an objective system -- make an objective assessment of his threat level. this is the last slide but i guess i will and with the unfortunate truth that there is no silver bullet to think a lot of people are looking for the one thing that you should be looking for, the one action, the one tool or technology that cancel this problem. unfortunately, there is no sober -- silver bullet. i think, if there is a silver bullet, it is the combination of all of these different things. that is what will be the most powerful in order to combat this problem. it is certainly not an easy task. there is a lot to look at. there is a lot to collect, a lot
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of time and money and resources put in place to actually have the most effective insider threat problem. but it is such a large and expensive problem and can have some any damaging consequences that it certainly is worth devoting some resources. i know that my biggest pitch is that with limited time and resources, instead of putting all resources into one aspect, it is about spreading it out and trying to get as much as you can across the sphere. it's really the combination of information across this multidimensional spectrum that will give us any possible chance of combating the insider threat issue. that is all i've got. [applause] questions? she's in charge. >> you mentioned the difficulty of developing the psychosocial dimension. how much of what you have now or with the industry has now is still anecdotal and how much of
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it is systematic studies? >> specifically for the psychosocial, there is not a lot of great research to look at the psychology of spies. there is a lot out there. the problem is that there are no studies or research that compare all of that great information to a control or comparative population to rule it is diagnostic. what we are seeing within the community is, ok, look for a narcissist, narcissism. i don't know if anybody else has interacted with the fbi, but find me an agent that does not have a little bit of gnosis is in them.sism i'm not saying that it is not a good thing to be looking for. but when you're in an insider threat program and are proactively trying to look at your people. if you start with narcissism,
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you're not limiting your populace that much. financial considerations and the foreign contacts, it is really about what is diagnostic. we have conducted a study where we have conducted a study where we try to assess some of the diagnostic features of those rich fasters -- of those risk factors. a.b. be in five years it will be out there. but it is certainly something that people understand is a necessity. in the next couple of years, it will only garner more support. >> for the psychological indicators of someone turning, if they are turning into a zombie or something, right, i


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